We didn't leave San Jose until 6 pm, which is a bit of a bummer since that means we were standing around the house doing nothing all day long. Grrr. If I'd known we were leaving *that* late, and not at 2 pm like I originally expected, I would have gone into work. That's $100 that coulda been in my pocket!
Oh well. The point is, we made it to Yosemite eventually and I woke up in a Tuolumne Meadows tent cabin! Dad wanted us to hurry to the dining tent, and Seanie and I were several minutes behind him so we ended up seated at another table. Breakfast was buffet-style, a new development. Eggs and french toast and fruit, my favorite. Seanie and I each took a yogurt from the oatmeal table and stuck it in our pockets to eat later. I was going to swipe a spoon, too, so we'd be able to eat it while on the trail, but Seanie actually asked one of the staff members and he said it was OK, and even offered to get us a larger spoon. (I would have returned the spoon at dinner time. I wasn't really stealing it.)
But enough about breakfast! Let's hit the trail!!
It was bright and sunny when we started our hike. It was to be a fourteen-mile trek from Tuolumne Lodge, where we were staying, to Olmstead Point. Dad PROMISED it was mostly flat, but it turned out he told a fib.
Lots of pine trees. Lodgepole I think?
We were hiking alongside Tioga Road.
Seanie's excited to get started!
Aren't we just so cute with our matching hats?? (Totally not on purpose, by the way.) I believe this was taken near the Tuolumne Meadows Visitors' Center.
Sometimes it's hard to see in the photos, but the trail was often the Old Tioga Road. While most of the road has since returned to nature, on occasion one can see chunks of the old pavement that cars drove on.
These are the Soda Springs, one of my favorite spots to visit in the park. Mineral water bubbles up out of the ground with natural carbonation. Back in Ye Olde Days people would come to the park and drink the water for its magical health benefits.
One of the little soda pools up close, so you can see the carbonation. The water isn't hot like thermal geysers in Yellowstone.
I ALWAYS taste the water even though I know it tastes like rusty nails. What, do I expect the flavor to magically change to strawberry or lemonade one of these days?
Rusty nails/dirty pennies, YUCK!
Hangin' out, wearin' my AWESOME hat.
Shepherds used to lead flocks of sheep through the meadows before Yosemite was made a National Park, so a wooden structure was built around the mouth of the springs to keep the sheep from drinking/pissing in the clean water.
Seanie confirmed that yes, the water did taste lousy.
Step right up, don't be shy! Actually, since it's near the end of the pre-snow season in Tuolumne the springs are pretty dried up. But you can see where the minerals have dyed the rocks red or salty-white.
After messing around at Soda Springs and Parsons' Lodge (a Sierra Club funded building that exists pretty much for the sake of existing, near as I can tell) we spent a couple of hours wandering through trees and grass and gazing up at huge domes of granite. (Granodiorite if you're a geologist and technical about these sorts of things.) Daddy had seen all these things many times before, so he was moving at a pretty quick pace. Kendrick, my brother, kept up with him very well but Seanie and I tended to drift behind.
Stopping for lunch. GATORADE SUCKS.
Storm clouds started rolling in. We could hear thunder rolling and echoing through the valley. It was a good day to NOT be up on one of the stark, bare granite faces!
Strangely enough, we only felt rain when it was sunny and hot.
After a particularly long stretch of uphill climbing, I got whiny and tired so Seanie took my backpack and put it on OVER his own backpack. So he's wearing two backpacks in this photo.
Going through an area with an old rock fall. Big granite boulders everywhere, but all the plants indicate they fell from the cliffs many many years ago.
Watching fishes swimming in one of the little rivers. My brother is coming up behind me to shove me in. Just kidding. Kinda.
Tenaya Lake. We got here around 2:30-2:45 pm, and had hiked eleven miles. Seanie and I were pretty wiped out so we decided to call it quits and wait for the Yosemite shuttle to take us back to the tent. My brother and my father continued on to Olmstead Point, another three miles off.
Reading while waiting for the shuttle.
The shuttle driver was a cantankerous old coot, always ready with a seasoned gripe. He told my boyfriend all the things he'd been doing wrong when he tried to fish Tenaya Lake the year before, and sped past the shuttle stops without slowing down. (They were always empty, but somettimes he wouldn't even turn in to see if anyone was nearby.) As we disembarked I said "Have a great afternoon!" and he replied "I had a great afternoon...once" in the grumpiest voice ever and I just busted up laughing. He was *such* a cartoon character.
Seanie took a nap in the tent while I finished my book, and then we showered all the sweat and dust off. Kenny and Dad came back around 6, so after they showered we went in to dinner at the Lodge. I had citrus and salt-crust salmon with linguini and roasted vegetables, YUM. They did an awesome job with the salmon, even eliminating the fishie taste that Seanie so hates. I ate and ate and ate, but still couldn't finish all my food. (I did smuggle out a couple of rolls to eat tomorrow though.)